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March 7, 2014

Hunter Mahan


KELLY BARNES:  Hunter, another guy at 1‑under tied for first after a long and arduous day.  Just talk about the round and what you were feeling all day and now.
HUNTER MAHAN:  I felt stressed all day, or I felt‑‑ because I knew every shot had big penalty written all over it and staring at bogey or worse I thought at a well‑struck shot.  It was a really tough day.  I had to hit really good quality shots.  There wasn't an easy shot out there, and you know, you're going to have to find a way to make some putts, because you're going to have some par putts out there.
It was good to get in at 1‑under.  One of those rounds where it could go south pretty fast so you've got to grind it out and find a way to get a number up there and get to the weekend.

Q.  It wasn't all that fun to watch; how much fun was it to play in that today?
HUNTER MAHAN:  I wouldn't think it would be much fun to watch.  Like I say, every shot was daunting and challenging.  I mean, there just wasn't an easy shot out there.  You know, Jamie Donaldson maybe had the best round of the day, driver, driver on 14, and it was just tough.  The 7th was tough and then it was blowing really hard.  You know, it wasn't‑‑ you know, you couldn't breathe out there, it felt like.  You couldn't just take a breath and go, okay, here is a stretch where we can make some birdies and get something back.
When you had an opportunity, it was a tough pin.  And then when there was maybe an accessible pin, you're hitting 3‑wood into a par 4 or a par 3.  So you know, any time you thought you had an opportunity, there was something challenging about the hole.
So you just avoid big numbers and you can maybe pars, pars are all good, and make it to the weekend and give yourself a chance.

Q.  So mentally, it's going to be a lot more trouble on a day like this.  Do you find your brain like working in overdrive than when it's sunny out?
HUNTER MAHAN:  Yeah, there's a happy medium where I'm trying not to think that much.  I'm trying to focus on the shot, and then nothing at all.  So that process of getting in that shot is pretty grinding, it's going to take longer than normal and from there, I'm just trying to talk to my caddie or whatever and not think about anything so I can kind of keep myself fresh the whole round and not stress about anything, not stress about future holes or something that happened in the past.
I really try to make sure I'm not thinking about the upcoming shot or anything else.

Q.  Are there similarity between this and match play?  You hear a lot of the same things, like trying to focus on a shot and that it's more mentally exacting than a normal stroke‑play event would be.
HUNTER MAHAN:  Yes and no, because match play, you can make 7 and it doesn't matter.  Unfortunately it matters here.  So I think that you have to get into the shot well and you have to leave the shot well.  You have to really get out of it and move on to the next one.  If you hit in the water, you have to move on to the next one or find a way to get up‑and‑down or get into the hole.  It not going to get any easier and there are not going to be any holes where you can make up shots real quickly.
So you've got to be mentally strong on days like this and it's easy to get frustrated and you can lose your composure.

Q.  How nice is it to pull an eagle out at the end and can you run through those three shots?
HUNTER MAHAN:  Yeah, it was huge.  I played thought I played 7 pretty well and made a bogey there.  The wind was down off the right.  Hit a 3‑wood off the tee to make sure that‑‑ you don't want to get in the rough or the water off the tee shot.  We had 252,255 or so to the hole and 220 to the front and we were just trying to land it near the front and kind of let it run back there.  Hit a good 4‑iron, had a great swing, looked like it was going to leak a little left and we were just looking for one bounce, just one kind of straight kick, not that crazy.  Just be gentle and be nice to us and it did, and it kind of stayed straight and it rolled up right by the hole about five or six feet.  Luckily the putt didn't do much, maybe left edge or so, and poured it right in the hole.
So it was a huge kind of momentum hole and got back to red figures.  Nice to finish that way.

Q.  Did it feel like winning a skin on a day like this?
HUNTER MAHAN:  Oh, my gosh, it felt like‑‑ it was, that was probably maybe the easiest hole out there.  Even though if I hit it two feet left ‑‑ it could have hit and rolled in the water.  That's kind of the‑‑ how close you are on this golf course, hit a great shot to dropping another one.  To make an eagle, it felt like you jumped about ten spots and jumped a bunch of guys.  Obviously birdies are tough and eagles are huge on a day like this.

Q.  Do you have a sense of what it is to be a caddie on a day like today?
HUNTER MAHAN:  Depends who you're caddying for.  Some are probably going to have a nightmare round no matter what because you're going to be wrong all day.
For my caddie, we are definitely a team out there and we both have to pay attention to the wind.  I can't‑‑ on a day like this, you can't just rely on him and expect him to have all the answers and everything, come on.  So we are both working hard out there, I know he is, and I think I know I'm not going to be perfect and I know he's not going to be perfect.  It's just going to be too difficult to figure out the right angles of the wind on some of those shots.
MODERATOR:   Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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